Jazz the three of us

Last week was an eventful one:  Raviv arrived on Tuesday, Randy and I celebrated our 14th anniversary on Thursday, Gymboree Summer and Kinder Camps ended on Friday, and my UPCAT review classes finally ended on Sunday.  Whew!  But let’s just focus on Raviv’s arrival and our 14th anniversary.

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Let’s begin with Raviv’s arrival.  He was away from us for almost two months, so we were very excited with his arrival.  As in!  The day before Raviv arrived, I went straight to S&R after a gruelling day of teaching at Brain Train’s McKinley Hill Branch in Taguig.  I’m usually too tired after a long day of teaching + travel and there’s nothing more I wanna do than to just plop on bed and eat.  But not on this Monday.  When Raviv arrives, I want to make sure he’ll be glad to be back with us.  So I bought him his favourites: chocolates, ice lollies (or in this case, ice cream sandwiches) and cookies!

My teaching assignment the following day was in Alabang, and Motherhood—en route to Los Banos—met with Randy at Festival Mall to “return” Raviv.  Then both Randy and Raviv fetched me from work.  Instead of sitting beside Randy on the passenger seat, I headed straight to the back seat and smothered Raviv with hugs and kisses.  Grabe, miss na miss ko si Ravivo!  He was unusually quiet and looked shy pa!  Randy said that while they were in Festival Mall, Randy wanted to spoil our Ravivo and brought Ravivo to Pixie Forest and toy stores.  Randy was ready to buy whatever Raviv  wanted, but Raviv was quiet the whole time and said he just wanted to go to the car.  Randy later confessed he was longing to hear Raviv call him “Tatay” again.

The following day, little by little, Raviv returned to his ebullient self.

My alarm clock today. #RavivongBata #TheReturnOfTheComeback

A photo posted by Dewmaine Sales-Ladaga (@momsterteacher) on

Dumaldal na nang bonggang-bongga!

On Thursday, Randy insisted we at least have dinner to celebrate our 14th year of being a couple. Yep, we’ve been committed to each other THAT long.  Akalain mo ‘yun?!?  Natagalan ni Randy mga kaartehan ko.  Hahaha!

Anyway, we decided to have dinner at Misto Restaurant in Seda Hotel Nuvali.  Upon entry, I gasped with pleasure because we were greeted by a man playing saxophone.  Saxophone!!!

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I am such a fan of jazz music!  Been one since college!  In fact, just a few days before that my friend Munira and I were thinking of going to a jazz club.

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So you may ask yourself, if jazz is so good, “why isn’t everybody listening to jazz music?”. The reason is simple, most people prefer entertainment over art.

A gossip magazine is entertainment, a good novel or poetry is art.

A soap opera is entertainment, a good theater play is art.

Wrestling is entertainment, a painting exhibition is art.

“The Fast and the Furious” is entertainment, “The Godfather” is art.

Lady Gaga is entertainment, Esperanza Spalding is art.

Art stimulate [sic] your mind and your senses, makes you think and increase your sensibility. Entertainment is just a distraction and usually has the opposite effect of art.  And once you learn how to appreciate art, you’ll find out you’re also being entertained. – SOURCE

I knew right there and then it was gonna be a great night.  Intimate dinner with cool jazz on our anniversary?  Ah, perfect romantic dinner.

Except for the fact that Raviv was with us.  Nye!  But despite Raviv’s likot and ingay, we still enjoyed the night.

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Great ambiance – CHECK!

Thumb IMG 7575 1024Tastefully decorated, spacious yet intimate, and comfy and not crowded.

Good music – CHECK!

Thumb IMG 7627 1024 Misto Restaurant at Seda Hotel has a great crooner!  Would have stayed longer just to listen to this lounge singer if only Raviv wasn’t demanding that we go home already.

 

Good food – CHECK!

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Everything we ordered was delicious!  Three meals plus a slice of chocolate mousse for Raviv (not in photo), plus scotch on the rocks (not in photo) for Randy and classic martini for me (not in photo) cost us P2,000+++.  Not bad, considering that we were really full and had so much leftover (that we asked to be placed in takeout bag, of course!)

It was a glorious night, and on our way home, I was just so grateful to God.  Fourteen years with the love of my life, union blessed with a beautiful boy…and live jazz over dinner. 🙂

 

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The Waiting Game

I’ve waited for today (Sunday!) the entire week, because it’s my only rest day amidst a really gruelling week.  But after three consecutive episodes of The Good Wife, I feel restless, bored and lonely.   Randy is in Taguig, teaching. Good thing Raviv called earlier to talk to me.  It was the highlight of my morning.

I just realised that if I were the single, childless, career-driven woman I still sometimes wish I were, this would be my life:  looking forward to a day off, and then getting bored on my day off.  See, I’m not a very sociable person (believe me!)  Neither am I adventurous, and I hate road trips (so I probably won’t be one of those single ladies enjoying the good life going to beaches or climbing mountains).  And I’m sure I won’t be living with my parents or relatives as well.  I’ll be really lonely.

One of the most memorable sad memories I have is Valentine’s Day 2002.  My a-few-months-old relationship has just ended, and the UPLB Feb Fair was in full swing.  Our dorm was empty because my dorm mates were either in their org booths/tents or with their jowaers, while my DevCom friends were at home with their families (they were all Los Banos-based).  Eh ‘yan lang circle of friends ko nung college (dorm mates and Dev Com barked) na natutuwa akong kasama.

But everything changed when Randy came into my life (yeeeessss! 😉 )  Even more so when Raviv was born.  With these two around (Randy the workaholic na allergic mahiga at matulog sa araw and Raviv aka “What, ‘Nay?” and “‘Nay, look at me!”), na-miss kong ma-bore.  Hahaha!

Speak of Raviv and of waiting, I’m just so excited to see him again on Tuesday, after almost two months!  I don’t expect him to be as thrilled to see me, because he is having such a swell time at my parents’ house with his cousins.  Although to be honest, I was also grateful that when I go home on busy days, I could just plop down on bed and do whatever I want to do.  No Raviv to feed, bathe, or entertain anymore.  Randy and I took advantage of being “dalaga” at “binata”: we would watch our favourite TV series, read on bed, occasionally go out with friends, and go to the mall to eat and shop.

Let me share with you my other “mga katas ng walang anak” adventures:

First, I realised that my long, straight hair is so blah.  So I got a haircut.

Thumb IMG 7388 1024Haircut done at Kate Spade Salon located at 2/F, Laguna Central Mall, Greenfield, Sta. Rosa City

 Verdict:  It’s awesome when I style it.  Otherwise, I just tie it.  I don’t regret it, neither am I too crazy about it.

Second, shoe shopping with my friend Zaira.  My reliable comfy everyday Grendha sandals gave and my years-old, reliable Outland clogs have gone missing.  That means napilitan akong mag-shoe shopping.  Hehehe.

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Verdict: From P5,395 to P3,800 to finally, P2,200!!!  Not bad for a pair of genuine leather clogs!  Randy even complimented it, ang ganda raw.  The only caveat was, it was still heavy and too high for me.  Remember, I teach for 6 hours.  At hindi ako nakaupo magturo.  Buwis-buhay ako magturo.  That means I have no choice but to buy another pair.  Hay, kainis (hehehe).

So off I went to another outlet store, this time to Charles & Keith at Paseo de Sta. Rosa.

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Verdict:  It was love at first sight for me for this pair.  Even for my friend Zaira.  In fact, when I was checking out other pairs, she just removed the footwear from my hand unceremoniously and told me, “Tumigil ka, alam mong pangit ang mga ‘yan.  Alam mo kung and ang gusto mo talaga!”  So what’s a girl got to do? 🙂  Anyway, the reason I was checking out other pairs was that I found this pair expensive.  It cost more or less P2,000, e the material isn’t leather unlike the Aldo shoes I got earlier.  However, I’ve worn this for 2-3 weeks now and I must say that save for the kalyo I got while I was breaking them in, this pair’s perfectly comfortable.  Stylish, too! 🙂

Third, Randy and I went on a date.  We decided to have a quiet dinner at Cafe Arabella, located in Solenad 3.

Thumb IMG 7502 1024Ang haggard namin dito, I know.

Verdict:  Cafe Arabelle is a restaurant in Solenad 3 that serves American-Italian food.  I love its eclectic interiors and homespun ambiance.

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The place and service were awesome.  But the food…not so much. 🙁  We ordered their specialties…

Thumb IMG 7508 1024Pork ribs in barbecue sauce (I forgot the exact term)

Thumb IMG 7509 1024Sloppy cheeseburger (I forgot the exact term)

Thumb IMG 7511 1024Guyabano with herbs smoothie

…sadly, none of them tasted really special.  Between the two of us, we spent approximately P1,300 and we can’t help but wish we ate at Kanin Club or Rack’s instead.  After that, we headed home.

Fourth, dress shopping.  Yesterday my class in Katipunan area ended at 12:30, so I was able to attend the birthday party of my friends Gerry and Mars’s daughter.  I rode a taxi to SM Aura from Katipunan.  It was my first time again after a long time to ride a taxi, and josko na-stress ako sa pagpapatakbo ni Manong.  If I were with Raviv I’d definitely have reprimanded the driver.  Nagdasal na lang ako.  Anyway after the party, I decided to just wait until the classes were finished so Dodong could just pick me up.  And I decided to shop.  I first tried going to the other boutiques that weren’t in Sta. Rosa.  However, sa Uniqlo pa rin ako bumagsak.  Uniqlo has become our family’s go-to shop.  Almost all of Randy’s walking shorts and polos are from there.  Raviv’s shirts, too.  In fairness naman kasi, the quality is good and the price is competitive.

At the party, seated behind me was an elegant-looking mom.  She wasn’t classically beautiful but she had this oomph.  Lash extensions (na hindi OA), check.  Discreet diamond studs, check.  But what struck me most was her dress.  She was not thin, but her sleeved shirt dress camouflaged whoever needed camouflaging well.  So I decided to get bulge-forgiving dresses, too.  I got two:

Thumb IMG 7517 1024Red orange crisp cotton shirtdress, Php1990.  I have come to accept that red orange is the color that best complements my skin tone, and not yellow. 🙁

Thumb IMG 7518 1024Striped short-sleeve dress, P1290.

Thumb IMG 7520 1024Soft white tailored jacket, from Php1990 on sale at Php1490.

Verdict:  I enjoy shopping alone, to be honest.  I get to buy what I really like, walang kontrabida at walang nagmamadali.  Anyway, it’s saddening that these photos failed to show the beauty of the dresses, because they’re really pretty!  Both dresses hide what need to be hidden, and they’re comfortable.  The red orange shirt dress is 100% cotton, so it’s not as stiff as it looks.  Pair it with a chunky necklace and it’s going to be a knockout.  Especially kung papayat ako.  Hehe.  The striped dress naman, well, Randy said it’s really cute.  It’s not often that Randy compliments my clothes, but he did when I tried it on yesterday. 🙂  As for the jacket, I was supposed to buy its thinner version.  However, this is what’s on sale.  I figured that it’s on sale because it’s summer.  Come the rainy season (soon!), the thinner version will be the one on sale.  But right now I’m crazy about this jacket.  It’s baggy with anything.  Added sophistication agad. 🙂

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But to be honest guys, the real waiting game for me is over.  I’ve waited for something the past six days.  I happily thought it won’t ever come, but it did today.  I was disappointed, but at least I could drink tea again, and get my 8th underarm diode laser session.  Oh well, there’s always a next time.

Toodles!

Raviv’s Long Weekend Adventure #2: Up, Up & Away + Raviv’s Wardrobe Diary #32

Hello! Our Mindanao vacation is over, and we’re back! I still don’t have a laptop, though. Yesterday, we attended the 2nd birthday of an amiga’s daughter at Fun Ranch near Tiendesitas, and traffic was horrible! The bad traffic would have been sulit because I spent time contacting MacBook Air online sellers, so we could meetup in Tiendesitas. Unfortunately, none of them even replied to my SMS inquiry. I tried calling them, too, but none was picking up. What the?!? I came ready with cash and all, and nada. Pwes, bahala sila. ‘Yun lang, wala pa rin akong own laptop. Huhuhuhu.

Anyway, here’s a lowdown of the events that transpired on Saturday last week.

We left Sta. Rosa City at 12:30 a.m. en route to the airport, because our flight was at 4 a.m. Raviv went to sleep wearing his travelling clothes already. He’s been so excited about this trip that when he heard some hullabaloo when Randy and I were getting dressed, he woke up on his own.

Raviv and Randy at NAIA Terminal 2. Raviv’s outfit details:

  • long-sleeved shirt (because it’s cold in the airplane): Blue Zoo by Debenhams
  • checkered shorts: Uniqlo
  • rubber shoes: Native (he wears nothing but these shoes!)
  • newsboy cap: unbranded; got it from a boutique at Festival Mall

We met Mom at the airport. By the way, we forgot to bubble wrap our luggage. We just kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn’t fall victim to the infamous laglag-bala modus. And thank God, hindi naman. One personnel (whom Motherhood already befriended out of her very frequent air travels—daig pa ni Motherhood ang flight attendants sa byahe eh!) said that the laglag-bala often happens at Terminal 3 (we were at Terminal 2) to those with connecting flights and OFWs.

Raviv stayed with Motherhood at the Mabuhay Lounge while Randy and I stayed with the “commoners”. LOL! On the airplane, he was very happy to have been seated beside the window. It’s like it was his first time to ride an airplane!

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Upon touchdown at around 6 a.m., we proceeded to the Marco Polo Hotel Davao to rest for a bit. It was good that there were empty rooms, so we were able to chreck-in early.

Raviv was again very happy, because he loves hotels. Hotels are his happy place, so we have been willing to spare extra bucks to check-in at good hotels. Remind me to make a separate blogpost about our stay at the Marco Polo Davao.

After resting for a bit, off we went to meet my brother and his family at the Davao Crocodile Park. Raviv bathed in the tub so I changed his clothes. Here’s what he wore for the rest of the day:

  • white shirt: Uniqlo
  • shorts: Maui & Sons
  • sunnies: SM Kids’ Fashion
  • rubber shoes: Native
  • bag: Cath Kidston
  • newsboy cap: unbranded; got it from a boutique at Festival Mall

It was actually our 3rd time at the Davao Crocodile Farm. (a more detailed description/review of the Davao Crocodile Park HERE). However, since Raviv can no longer remember the times we visited it, off we went there again. Here are some of our familia photos at the Davao Crocodile Farm:


My handsome man and my handsome boy

My little boy holding a little croc

My family, clockwise from leftmost top: Dad, my brother TJ, my husband Randy, TJ’s wife Ruth, Raviv, TJ’s daughter Yoona, Mom and I

Raviv and his cousin Yoona, reunited!

After touring the Davao Crocodile Park, we proceeded to our favorite restaurant in Davao: Ahfat Seafoods Plaza. This restaurant is actually within the immediate vicinity of Victoria Plaza. And be careful: for some reason, there’s more than one Ahfat restaurant in the area. Motherhood says these branches are not at par with each other. She said, “Tamo dito sa pupuntahan natin, andaming tao. Dun sa kabila, wala.” [Read more…]

Shakey’s Goes Big in Cebu City!

Advertorial

It’s bigger, it’s better and it’s here! After 40 years of making pizza, Shakey’s newest and BIGGEST branch in Cebu is now open to serve Guests!

The best legacies come from the most passionate endeavors. Shakey’s Philippines has been a strong brand in the pizza segment of the local food service since its inception in 1975 when they opened their first store in Makati. Developed by four of the food industry’s giants, Shakey’s emerged as an avenue for marketing San Miguel’s newest draft beer.

Almost four decades later, Shakey’s is now a successful nationwide franchise with over 150 restaurants. Their latest innovation exhibits a change in image and ambiance to feature the present family-oriented, wholesome, and fun atmosphere. Constantly in tune with their roots, the brand maintains the warmth and familiarity that have made their stores a sensation.

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Shakey’s Cabahug is the sixth and largest store in Visayas, having the capacity to seat up to 52 tables, or a total of 140 persons. And because this is the biggest branch to come to Cebu, room for parking 21 vehicles has been allotted for the convenience of Guests so no time is wasted in getting the Good Times and Great Memories rolling.

Need to throw a pizza party to celebrate the latest milestones, or a little one’s birthday? Guests can now book the largest Shakey’s function room in town, which seats up to 80 persons. Choose from the three new birthday party themes, namely Looney Tunes for the rambunctious tots, Hot Wheels for the grease monkeys, and Barbie for the little ladies in the family. But parties are not just for the little ones. Take your next business or corporate function to Shakey’s as well, or bring the family to watch the next big championship or playoff on one of the four wall mounted televisions. There is nothing Shakey’s  wouldn’t love to celebrate with its Guests.

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Bring the family out for pizza night and enjoy your pick from the selection of 18 available flavors of World Famous Thin Crust Pizza. And don’t forget, no meal at Shakey’s is complete without the awesome twosome Chicken ‘N’ Mojos.

Need a night of drinks with friends? They’ve got you covered with another feature, the Bar area. Order a round of cold brews for the boys, or pick from the slew of cocktails or wines for a ladies night of good fun!

Shakey’s is excited and deeply pleased to bring yet another branch closer to their Guests in Visayas, employing well-trained friendly Cebu City locals, contributing to employment. Whether it’s to dine in, take out, celebrate or order a meal to come to you via the 254-7777 delivery hotline.

Wardrobe Diary #68: It’s All About Love (Feb. 14, 2015)

My Valentine’s date story hasn’t ended yet!!!  So please, please allow me to relish my Valentine’s date.  But before that, let me show you first my Valentine’s Day outfit:

Here I was by our hotel room door at Acacia Hotel before having breakfast:

And here I was at the Acaci Restaurant after a very satisfying breakfast:

Sequined shift dress: Culte Femme

Bag: Marc Jacobs Stam

Ballet flats: Yosi Samra

You know, I had second thoughts about wearing a shift dress because shift dresses tend to make me shapeless.  And looking at the photos above, medyo nga.  But this Culte Femme dress looked and felt so good to wear that I took the risk.  Besides, the fact that its waist wasn’t cinched was perfect because I planned to eat a lot. 😉

Anyway, back to our date.  So Randy and I had a scrumptious buffet breakfast at Acaci Restaurant.  That’s part of our Valentine’s package at Acacia Hotel. [Read more…]

Shakey’s Super Grand Slammin’ Deal: Pizza Plus Pizza Plus Mooooore!!!

Advertorial

They say there is something about the appetizing look of pizzas that whets every food lover’s appetite, no matter what time of the day it is.  But the operative word here is, “they”.  Because I have a confession to make:  I do not like pizzas all that much.  I like them, but not like others (like my husband and son!) who are willing to eat pizzas 24/7.

So wait, what am I doing, writing advertorials about Shakey’s?!?

For one, Randy and Raviv loooooove pizzas so much.  Second, we are talking about Shakey’s, bey-beh!  And Shakey’s isn’t just pizza!  Whenever I’m with my man and my boy or with friends, and they say they crave for pizza, I’d always suggest Shakey’s.  Why?  Because even when I’m in no mood for pizza (but usually my mood changes when it’s thin crust and still hot and smellin‘ so good!), Shakey’s has a lot, lot, lot more to offer.  And I have a lot, lot, lot more to salivate after!  Whenever I’m at Shakey’s, I always have a difficult time deciding which one to buy because I love everything on the menu!

That’s why I’m so psyched with Shakey’s latest Grand Slam offering: the Shakey’s Super Grand Slammin’ Deal!  This deal is so super and grand because it allows guests to pair their favorite pizza combination with a generous serving of signature starters or pasta, plus a pitcher of Nestea Iced Tea or Coca-Cola softdrink. It’s an immediate feast, no matter what the occasion is!

Shakey's Super Grand Slammin' Deal Poster

So here’s how the Shakey’s Super Grand Slammin’ Deal works.

  1. Choose any of your favorite starters or pasta; this could be the seasoned and deep-fried Calamari Crrrunch or the tender and juicy Buffalo wings or the hot and crispy perfection of Wings’n’Rings. If you’re a pasta lover, perhaps try the deliciously creamy Carbonara Platter or the delightful Spaghetti Platter.
  2. Select your 18-inch Grand Slam Pizza flavor combination, Original four delicious flavors: Shakey’s Special, Pepperoni, Classic Italian Sausage and Friday Special or New Combination flavors: Angus Steakhouse, Hi-Protein Supreme, Pizza Castellana and Managers Choice.
  3. And lastly, top it all off with a refreshing pitcher of your choice drink.

If that treat isn’t enough, ordering the Shakey’s Super Grand Slammin’ Deal also entitles you to one (1) free SuperCard, all for only Php999! Shakey’s SuperCard allows card holders to enjoy discounts and freebies, including a free pizza for every pizza delivery order with drinks to match. So upon having the SuperCard, you can start enjoying all the amazing treats from Shakey’s.  So, is this a grand deal or a super deal?!?  Well, it’s both!

The promo runs until December 17 only, so make sure you get your Shakey’s Super Grand Slammin’ Deal in any Shakey’s branch near you!  I know our family will!!!

Da Best of eLBi 2: My Favorite Restaurants in Los Banos

It used to be that I thought of myself as someone who prioritizes yummy food the least.  Back in college when I was scrimping on my allowance so I could buy the clothes I covet, I used to scoff at people who wear dowdy clothes but spend so much on food.

But I surprised myself when I found myself saying that I’d rather not eat if I don’t like the food, or losing appetite simply because the food bores me.

And then it hit me: during college, I was just blessed to be surrounded by restaurants serving delicious foods that still allowed me to save some of my allowance for clothes.

Fast forward to 2014:  I am already working, and I could even afford to eat in fancy restaurants in Metro Manila.  But you know what?  I often feel foolish for shelling out thousands of pesosesosesoses for foods that are actually a fraction of the cost of their counterparts in eLBi.

So guys, lemme share with you my favourite restaurants that are proudly made in eLBi:

(Note:  This is NOT an advertorial.  The restaurants I am featuring did not ask me to write about them, nor did/will I ask something in return for this.  I just really want to share their yummy foods to my readers)

 

1. Faustina’s

Faustina’s Restaurant opened in July 2010.  It is actually an homage to the owners’ late grandmother, the Habitos’ Lola Faustina (thus, Faustina’s) who left them with such good memories of family love and food.  With the help of the Habitos’ Interior Designer friend, Rinelle Villareal, they were able to conceptualise and include their Lola Faustina’s memory into the details of the restaurant.

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I first started to get curious about Faustina’s when of our teachers at Brain Train was raving about the dishes of this quaint restaurant along Raymundo Gate.  He loved it so much that whenever there’s a reason to celebrate or whenever any one of us would muse out loud as to where to eat, he would always say, “Faustina’s!”

And then one evening, my friends and I found ourselves at Faustina’s.  I asked what the bestseller was, and the waiter suggested the silindro ribs.

 

 

It was love at first bite for me!  Everything was perfect—from the grilling to the barbecue sauce to the sukang pinakurat (I love vinegar on barbecue!)…and most especially the price!  This meal that is a symphony to my taste buds only costs P210.  I remember the time when my friends and I decided to have lunch out of the blue.  We went to this restaurant and when we saw that a similar viand cost almost P400, we just looked at each other and knew we were leaving and heading for Faustina’s.  Hahaha!

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When you’re craving for something sweet naman, you should order Faustina’s blueberry cheesecake.  I’ve tried it (the silindro ribs was filling, but my appetite swore to me that my tummy still had space), and I loved it!

 

 

Other bestsellers (which I have yet to try—I can’t NOT order these two every time I go to Faustina’s eh!) include Faustina’s Pepperoni Pizza, Aussie Beef and Lamb Pies (trivia: the owners grew up in Australia), Spaghetti and Meatbombs, Creamy Shrimp Pasta, and Banana Choco Hazelnut Crepe.

 


Faustina’s Pizza

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Faustina’s Creamy Shrimp Pasta

 

Truly, Faustina’s is a gem in Los Banos!  But seats at Faustina’s are just like the rarest of gems—Faustina’s is almost always jam-packed, sigh!  (Celine, palakihin n’yo ang restau n’yo please!)

 

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(Faustina’s Restaurant is located at Lola J’s Building, 10278 Ruby St., Los Banos Subdivision, Los Banos Laguna.  Call them at 049 501-1509.  They are open everyday from 11am-8:30pm)
 

2. Gastronomeats

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I have discovered Gastronomeats only recently.  I used to pass by it almost everyday, but I did not give it any second thoughts.  It looks very simple and plain, so I took it for granted. In fact, when my friend Zaira (the same person who brought me to Faustina’s) told me that our next dinner destination would be at Gastronomeats, I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from complaining.  And so there we went.  My doubts about the quality of food was heightened when I saw that even inside, everything was just so simple.  So I was not expecting anything, really.

I ordered their Oompa Liempo:

 

I was surprised that it actually tasted great!  I was expecting it to taste like our regular liempo at home (which also tastes great, by the way), but no, there was really an “oomph!” Hehehe.  Since it was my first time there and since I was also dining with my closest friends, I tasted what they have ordered.  And I loved them even more!

This is what my friend ordered:

 

Slabbed (Bacon Steak with eggs and fried rice)

 

I loved it!  The mild, smoky flavour of the bacon is perfectly complemented by the mild saltiness of the sunny side up eggs and fried rice.  My friend Zaira says it’s her favourite at Gastronomeats.  So the next time I went there with my friend Irvin, I ordered this as well.

However, when I tasted Irvin’s order—spicy liempo—I told myself that it, too, was delicious!

And so I ordered spicy liempo when I went there with Randy and Raviv.  Randy ordered Slabbed (which I got bits and pieces from), and ordered Sausage Fest for Raviv.  Just when I thought I was already confused with what to order next, I also loved Raviv’s Sausage Fest.  Waaaaah!!!

Three visits to Gastronomeats made me realize this: the owners really needed not to overwhelm its patrons with any kind of decoration—heck,  there wast even a tinge of the usual colour red that is said to whet people’s appetites—because the flavours of their meats would cover just about everything!

(Gastronomeats is located along Lopez Avenue, Los Banos, Laguna.  It is just in front of Centtro Mall.  Its contact number is 09175105215.)

 

3. Bonito’s

I only fully appreciated Bonito’s when we dined at Bonito’s and then at Abe and at Crisostomo only days apart.  That’s because when we dined at Bonito’s, Randy had their Kalderetang Batangas combo meal.  And he loved it a lot.  He was surprised to see that what he had—scrumptious beef “stewed for a long time in a garlic-onion-liver sauce” served with rice and iced tea/lemonade cost only P140!  Yes, P140 only!

wpid-Boitos-Menu.jpg

 

Dishes such as this at Abe and at Crisostomo would be well over P300!  And when it comes to taste, Bonito’s is definitely not lacking!

Aside from this caldereta that I am raving so much about, Bonito’s also serves these mouthwatering dishes that I have yet to try (all images lifted from Bonito’s Bar and restaurant Facebook Page):

 

wpid-bonitos-ravioli-lasagna.png

wpid-lb-burger-bonitos.png

The best thing about Bonito’s is that it is spacious (relative to other restaurants in eLBi) and can accommodate lots of people.

 

However, food service is kinda slow.  I guess the staff get rattled because of the volume of people and of the orders that they receive.

 

(Bonito’s Bar and Restaurant is located at Oregano St. corner Lopez Ave., Demarses Subd, Los Baños, Laguna.  They may be contacted through 049 536 3255 or 09153154521.)

 

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I know that there may be other restaurants in Los Banos that are worthy of being featured here, but I may have not tried eating there yet…feel free to suggest where I should eat next time!  I would surely hate to miss out on anything that proudly made in eLBi!

 

Next Feature: My favourite street food joints in eLBi!

Da Best of eLBi 1: LB Love

It’s Los Banos Day on Wednesday.  Don’t bother knocking at our doorstep para makipiyesta. Aside from the facts that there will be no classes on that day and you will see a band on parade, no one would ever guess that we are celebrating our town feast.
 
Image lifted from www.lagunatravelguide.com

 

I am not really a fan of town feasts, but I feel like celebrating Los Banos Day this year.  At least on this blog (sorry, no handa pa rin.  Hehe).  I love eLBi and I really consider this my home even if I was not born here.  Actually, I realized that that is the only milestone in my life that Los Banos was not a part of.  Well, that and my grade school graduation.  For everything else, Los Banos was a witness: my high school and college days, my first love and first heartache, my (first and hopefully my last) marriage, my hits and misses on parenting, my growth as a teacher…and many more!  In fact, I don’t think Los Banos was just but a witness—Los Banos actually sculpted me to become what I am now.  It sharpened my previously shapeless edges, softened my previously jagged surfaces…and it still continues to hone me.

 

Randy would often remind me how blessed we are to be in a quaint community with the majestic Mt. Makiling looking over us.  And I don’t blame Randy—as an intellectual and a tree hugger, Los Banos is just perfect for him.

 

Pili Drive.  We pass by this every morning as we bring Raviv to his school.

 

 

But nature (literally) isn’t just what’s great in LB.  Nurture, too.  I often rave that the quality of our schools here are at par (or even better) than the expensive schools in Metro Manila—that’s because Los Banos is a highly academic community (thanks to UP), and people here put a premium on education.  Thus, bulok schools have no place here.  Academic excellence is the name of the game in Los Banos.  I guess that’s also the reason why the best ever high school entrance and UPCAT review centre was born here, ehem.

 

No, seriously.  I proved this further yesterday as we were saying our farewells to our students enrolled at Bonifacio Global City.  They—the students who  from Ateneo de Manila High School, Poveda, and La Salle Greenhills—could not leave without telling us how much they love Brain Train.  They told us how glad they are that they chose us, because they enjoyed learning (thus they had an easier time actually learning).  They got even more convinced that they went to ze best because when they talked with their friends who went to “others”: while their friends ranted about the other review centres, the Brain Train babies would rave about us.  Even Dodong told me how his heart was bursting with pride to be a part of an institution that is this loved by its clientele.

 

 

So anyway, now that we have established once again how great Brain Train is (ahihihihi), I want to tell the cyberworld, too, that aside from Brain Train, Los Banos has other gems.  Actually, Los Banos is a treasure trove of establishments that offer great services but at a fraction of its usual cost.  How come?

 

Here’s the thing:  because of UP, Los Banos is full of smart people who are relatively well-traveled (because many students are from other places, too).  But since most of the Los Banos populace are either students or are merely working at UP or its sister research facilities, (read: most of us are not businessmen or executives of multinational companies), we find it difficult to part with our money over overpriced food or stuff.  Especially those that are not worthy of our (or our parents’) hard-earned money.

[Read more…]

Wardrobe Diary #47: Familia Sundate (Oct. 6, 2013)

I was especially happy on this day, because our family got to do what normal families do on Sundays: make it all about God and family. See, our work entails us to work on weekends.  Not complaining here, because we are relatively from Monday to Friday.  And pasyal on weekdays has its perks, because that meant tourist spots and malls are not crowded.  But still, there’s a part of me that makes me long to have a special Sundate with my family.

For some reason, the Sundays of October free for Randy and me.   And I revel these Sundays. I make sure we at least attend the Sunday service.  But on this day, Randy learned that there was a back-to-back dog show in Tagaytay City!  Back when Randy and I were still bf-gf and our business wasn’t this huge, we had several Sundays off and we used to spend it attending and joining dog shows.  So even though we were still a tad sick from God-knows-what sickness the previous day (buuut, we still taught!), Randy and I got excited at the thought of being at a dog show again, even though we do not have any entry.

Here’s what I wore to church and then to our pasyal by the way:

momsterteacher wardrobe diary

And here’s a much closer look at the outfit details:

wardrobe diary details

  • Dress from Blessed Online Shop (this cost only P300+++!)
  • Leather sandals from Outland (I’ve recently rediscovered Outland!  I have forgotten how comfy and sturdy they are, not to mention affordable!
  • Two-way bag (can be shoulder and can be handbag) from Relic
  • Leather belt from a thrift shop Randy and I passed by in Cavite
  • Sunnies from Charles and Keith

[Read more…]

Restaurant Review: Probinsya Buffet Restaurant

Davao City is the best when it comes to satisfying one’s gastronomic cravings!  I have actually christened it as the Most Affordable Buffets City Capital of the Philippines.  Every first-timer in Davao I talk to raves about the eat-all-you-can restaurants that abound in Davao City!

But of course, even though there are plenty of eat-all-you can restaurants that do offer a wide array of food, you can’t be sure that these restaus actually care about the quality of the food they serve.  But not Probinsya Buffet Restaurant.

Facade of Probinsya Restaurant

Our plane touched Davao City at 7 a.m. Wednesday last week.  After dropping by my kababata Bubbles’ home to borrow her baby daughter’s car seat (it was because of her daughter’s christening + birthday celebration that we flew to Davao), Dad drove us to Probinsya Restaurant for breakfast.  Take note, naligaw pa siya sa paghahanap ha, pero hinanap niya talaga!

At the facade of the restaurant were streamers screaming that their breakfast buffet was just P168!

P168 for breakfast buffet

Just how far did our P168 go?  To a looooooong buffet table!

Probinsyana Restaurant Buffet Table

I was the first among us to approach the buffet table (napaghahalatang mas matakaw ako kesa kay Randy), and I was overwhelmed with the wide array of traditional Filipino breakfast dishes that greeted my eyes!

Boiled eggs, longganiza, corned beef (Is corned beef a traditional Filipino probinsya dish?  Nevertheless, I’m glad it’s part of the menu.)

Fried bangus…and other dishes I could no longer recognize…

Scrambled eggs, sinangag, and plain rice

May mami pa para mainitan ang tiyan! Perfect, for it was a rainy morning

There was even boiled yellow camote–Randy loved it!

Fried daing na bangus and dinuguan…very Filipino!

Filipino breakfast icon: pan de sal! Plus several palaman

Even with just a fraction of the above dishes, sulit na ang P168, right?  But I’m not even halfway yet!  There were different Pinoy vegetable salads (with matching bagoong, alamang, and suka dips pa ha!) [Read more…]